Why Tree Improvement?

Advances in Acacia koa (koa) silviculture and breeding can make reforestation with this important native species more attractive to land owners/managers. Ultimately, this could enable large areas of deforested land to be restored, providing economic, ecological, and cultural benefits to Hawaii.

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News & Updates

Koa seed orchards for Hawaii reforestation

Koa seed podRecent land use changes have led to opportunities to reforest large areas of degraded land with koa and there is now a large demand for improved koa seeds and seedlings. To meet this demand, HTIRC members have been awarded a competitive grant from the Forest Service State & Private Forestry and are working together to establish seed orchards to produce an abundant supply of seeds for reforestation across a range of environmental conditions from high to low elevations.

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Research Highlights

img-highlights1Developing wilt resistant Acacia koa for Hawaii 

by Nicklos Dudley and Tyler Jones, Hawaii Agriculture Research Center

Koa wilt disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. koae, causes mortality of koa in native forests and is a major impediment to reforestation with this species. The Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) conducted a disease survey on the four largest Hawaiian Islands and developed a collection of over 500 F. oxysporum isolates. HARC has screened over 150 of the isolates for virulence in koa, and selected the ten most virulent isolates to use for screening young koa seedlings for genetic-resistance to the fungus. HARC then collected koa seeds from native forests and koa plantings on Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai.  From these collections, HARC screened over 450 half-sib famlies (seeds from the open-pollinated same mother tree) in greenhouse seedling trials.  

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